Kirbie's Cravings

Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

Instead of buying expensive prepackaged microwave popcorn, you can make your own popcorn in a brown paper bag! It’s a quick and easy snack when you’re craving a bowl of popcorn.

overhead photo of microwave popcorn

This isn’t the usual type of recipe I share, but I recently came across this life hack that I am just so excited about. Did you know that it’s possible to make fresh popcorn in your microwave with just an ordinary brown paper bag?

I couldn’t believe it! So much money is saved popping your own with a paper bag compared to purchasing the pre-packaged microwave popcorn bags at the grocery store.

It’s easier than making popcorn on the stovetop, too. That is always such a hassle, so I never do it. We don’t own an air-popper, so I love that we can have warm popcorn without buying another gadget.

Also, you get to customize the bag of popcorn however you wish. If you love movie theater popcorn you can add as much butter as you want! I can never find one at the store that has the amount of butter and salt I’m personally looking for. So, I am really enjoying this DIY microwave popcorn recipe.

I’ve already made potato chips in the microwave so I’m really excited to have learned this microwave popcorn technique now.

photo of package of white corn kernals

How do you make popcorn in a brown paper bag?

All you need is an ordinary brown paper lunch bag, a measuring cup, and a container of popcorn kernels.

If desired, you can add some salt and oil at this stage, but it’s not necessary to cook the popcorn, and I prefer not to because I’d rather wait until the popcorn is finished and then season to my liking.

Pour a 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels into the bag. Then, you want to have a decent seal on the top so it doesn’t open while cooking. I fold the top of the bag down twice. Then I tucked in the corners.

Put your bag, laying fold-side down, in the microwave.

Cook for approximately 2 minutes. I don’t recommend going more than that on your first attempt because you might end up with some burned unpopped kernels.

You can play around with the time a little after your first attempt, but my ideal time ended up being 2 minutes.

Then, open your bag carefully, and ta-da! You should have a bag full of warm, just-popped popcorn.

step by step photos showing how to prepare the bag for making popcorn

Seasonings and Toppings

  • I love the taste of sea salt and melted butter on mine. Or you can flavor it with olive oil or other flavored oils.
  • You can also add seasonings and spices like Cajun seasoning, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, dried herbs, or taco seasoning.
  • Make cheese popcorn and add some finely grated Parmesan cheese.
  • You can make a sweet popcorn flavor and sprinkle it with some sugar and cinnamon. I think adding some chocolate would be great, too.

close-up photo of microwave popcorn in a bowl

Since I discovered this paper bag popcorn, I’ve been enjoying a big bowl nearly every day. It’s so easy and fun and that one jar of popcorn kernels goes a long way.

More Popcorn Recipes

Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Course: Snacks
Cuisine: American
Instead of buying expensive prepackaged microwave popcorn, you can make your own with a simple paper bag! 
4 from 1 vote


  • 1 brown paper bag lunch size
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • salt, butter, and seasonings of your choice


  • Place kernels into paper bag. Fold top over twice, like in the post photo, to help secure the bag. Tuck in the edges of the bag.
  • Place the bag, fold-side down, into your microwave. Cook for approximately 2 minutes, but make sure to not leave your microwave unattended.
  • Carefully open bag (there will be a lot of hot steam at first!), and season popcorn to your liking. Enjoy!


Recipe very slightly adapted from Serious Eats

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

10 comments on “Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag”

  1. I just made some popcorn following your directions. I found a larger paper bag and it worked great. Tastes good. Since I have a 12 yr old microwave I needed more time than 2 minutes. Watched it carefully and it did not  burn. 

  2. We’ve been doing this for 10 years, but just bought a new microwave, and it no longer works. It burns just as it’s beginning to pop, and almost starts the bag on fire. New microwave is same brand and power as the old one. I did notice that in the manual for the new microwave, it tells you not to use paper bags. Sad that we can’t do this anymore ?

  3. This recipe CHANGED MY LIFE!

  4. I made this last night and 2 minutes was too long for me. The smell of burnt popcorn is not pleasant 🙁 My second attempt turned out much better at 1:30 – not all the kernels popped but at least it didn’t burn. Awesome quick snack!

  5. I’ve found that re-using the bag to make multiple batches increases the chance of something burning. Just a warning for similarly frugal-minded popcorn lovers!